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The Life & Times of the Thunderbolt Kid Audiobook

The Life & Times of the Thunderbolt Kid

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Publisher's Summary

Bill Bryson's hilarious memoir of growing up in middle America in the Fifties, complete, unabridged, and read by the author.

Born in 1951 in the middle of the United States, Des Moines, Iowa, Bill Bryson is perfectly positioned to mine his memories of a totally all-American childhood for 24 carat memoir gold. Like millions of his generation, Bill Bryson grew up with a rich fantasy life as a superhero. In his case, he ran around the house wearing a jersey with a thunderbolt on it and a towel round his neck that served as his cape, leaping tall buildings in a single bound and vanquishing evildoers (in his head) as The Thunderbolt Kid.

Using his old fantasy life as a springboard, Bill Bryson recreates the life of his family in the 1950s in all its transcendent normality. In a period that saw the inexorable rise of television, the opening of Disneyland, the testing of the atomic bomb, and the explosion of choice in everything from food to cars, Bill Bryson's days followed in reassuringly cosy succession, enlivened by modest triumphs and disasters.

Warm and laugh-out-loud funny, The Thunderbolt Kid is full of Bill Bryson's inimitable, pitch-perfect observations and this unabridged recording contains every single amusing anecdote and amazing fact. Nothing is left out, so you can enjoy the whole book in its entirety, read by Bill Bryson himself.

© and (P)2014 Audible, Inc.

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.3 (230 )
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4.3 (126 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Klaudia Warsaw, Poland 12-19-11
    Klaudia Warsaw, Poland 12-19-11
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
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    "No disappointment from Billy Bryson's novel!"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Learning about America's unofficial history, enriched with some private stories from Bill's family gave the book really authentic feeling. All this with really great narration make the book great fun.


    Have you listened to any of Bill Bryson’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    American taboos revealed: when American men could be found naked


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robyn 12-05-11
    Robyn 12-05-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Delightful and entertaining"

    I enjoyed this very much, chuckled all the way through and was almost sorry when it finished. It was a bonus having the author read his own work. Thank you for sharing your childhood adventures with your reading public!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Greg Dublin, Ireland 11-29-11
    Greg Dublin, Ireland 11-29-11
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    1
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    Story
    "A pleasure"
    What made the experience of listening to The Life & Times of the Thunderbolt Kid the most enjoyable?

    Not been American


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    The father, proving fathers are the same world wide


    What about Bill Bryson’s performance did you like?

    from the horse's mouth


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No, styled that one could dip and out, therefore, prolonging the pleasure


    Any additional comments?

    Marvelous insight into growing up in small town America in the 50/60's

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rajesh Johanneburg, South Africa 12-12-11
    Rajesh Johanneburg, South Africa 12-12-11 Member Since 2016

    Legal Thrillers, crime, fiction. humor and a bit of management sprinkled with some self improvement. All through Audible.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Only Americans Please"

    If it is funny, it is only for the American. It is not like his earlier books. Not a classic global book which everyone can enjoy.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Leslie Grey McCawley 01-16-07 Member Since 2013
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    "Too many icky bits"

    I have enjoyed Bryson's other books but this one is an in-your-face reminder of how actually disgusting little boys can be - his loving and graphic descriptions of the things boys get up to had me almost sick; I had to stop listening. Some listeners may delight in remembering the sheer ickiness of childhood experience, but I didn't.

    1 of 5 people found this review helpful
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  • Larissa
    LONDON, United Kingdom
    1/24/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "for mr. Bryson"

    Dear mr. Bryson, you wrote an xcellent story. but in my opinion you spoiled it by reading it by yourself. I think it would have been beneficial to leave it to the professionals. A voice of a young boy should have been present in this naration. And story has so many exciting moments, but unfortunately they have been told in a monotone flat pace. I liked the book, applouse to the writer! I did't like the narator, opps..

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • melisa
    1/1/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Don't listen in public places as you'll laugh till you cry..."

    The only person allowed to narrate Bill Bryson books should be Bill Bryson. Absolutely, weepingly hilarious, joyful, thought provoking, moving, uplifting and utterly original. God bless you Bill.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Nike
    Devon
    1/1/17
    Overall
    "Really engrossing and extremely well written. Thank you."

    Read this crossing the Atlantic in 2006. Really annoyed my wife by chortling out loud. Good to hear it again, so well read. Remembered more of the jokes and stories. Cannot resist picking up all the dry switchroos. Again and again. Thanks Bill. You have an ear for the English subtleties.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Peter Collins
    11/8/16
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    Story
    "Not the best Bill Bryson book I've read"

    it was the funniest of the Bill Bryson tales and I found his tone somewhat monotonous

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Mr A Mcfarlane
    11/8/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "very funny"

    first book I have read/heard from the author, although I have three others! will get to those now.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Mr Robert Butler
    Long Eaton, UK
    10/23/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A super story that took me back to being a child"

    I really enjoyed this book (listened to once again on Audible). The narration was good (I can't criticise the occasional lack of emotion as Bill was reading his own book and recalling his own memories).

    For a reader of my age, the memories that Bill recounts from his childhood are closer to the ones from my own childhood than they are to the modern world. I loved the simple lifestyle and the way that Bryson described his family - bringing to life the characters in his story and making me want to hear more. A good read.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • lilac
    uk
    10/4/16
    Overall
    Performance
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    "Good, funny book."

    A good book, performed well. Funny and interesting. This book has made me consider reading / listening to other autobiography which I have never really thought about before .

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • B
    9/28/16
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    "Bryson,as always is fantastic"

    Growing up a decade later and in England not America my childhood memories differ in detail. However, many of the feelings are just the same. The sense of freedom, of life spread out endlessly in front of you. Long hot summer holidays (weren't they always hot when we were children?) parents who seemed not to worry too much. I often think my own children have missed out on those moments of freedom and exploration that we enjoyed as I watch them tirelessly twiddling on their game controllers. As always Bill Bryson weaves his wonderful wit and observations of life into his books and I for one enjoy them all the more when read by the author.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Birdie
    United Kingdom
    9/27/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "The best."

    Riveting and so damned funny you'll probably throw up coffee through your nose. Buy it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Rosemary White
    9/23/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Delightful "

    I have listened to a few of Bill Bryson's brilliantly written fictions but this is different. It is autobiographical. It is never dry or tedious, quite the opposite in fact. He has a charming, gentle wit which shines through and I found I was smiling the whole time.
    Not all authors are good narrators, of their own or other's books but Bill has a wonderful style, a beautiful, easy to listen to voice, perfectly pitched and interesting. He has a marvellous memory and the gift of evoking images that come alive in your mind. This is true of all his writing I have experienced so far. I have never been to America although I grew up through the same years in England. He brought those years back to me despite the different environments with the added seasoning of colourful characters, insightful comments and the red and green cellophane glasses that made 3D comic books so exciting. I am sure many will enjoy hearing about the Tnunderbolt Kid's early years. Thank you Bill, your book is a delight and is treasured by me, at least.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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